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Vacation Blog: Week 4 and part of Week 5

Saturday, October 31, 2015

This is a contiunation of my "Vacation Blog" ....

September 9 and 10: Grand Teton National Park
After spending three nights camping at Yellowstone, we broke up camp and drove several hours south to Grand Teton National Park to camp for the next two nights. The two parks are connected to each other, but Yellowstone is so big, it takes a while to drive from one end of it to the other. We got there around 1pm, set up camp and then went off to explore.

I didn't really know much about Grand Teton National Park and I wasn't really sure what to expect when I got there. From the pictures, it just looked like mountains and I'd seen plenty of mountains already!

I was pleasantly surprised when I got there. To me, being in the Tetons was one of the most peaceful, relaxing times I have ever experienced. The Tetons rise up seemingly out of nowhere from a very flat base. It's easy to drive from one place to another at the Tetons because the valley is so big and flat. There are several lakes at the base of the Tetons that highlight the beauty of the mountains. I never got the sense of feeling crowded at the Tetons like I did occassionally in Yellowstone. We did several hikes during there including a hike along one the side of one of the the main lakes there (Lake Jenny) and a boatride back to our starting point.

This is a picture of Jackson Lake...the largest lake in the park.

We camped at the Coulter Bay campground. There was a little trail we followed from our campsite, not knowing where it went. In a couple hundred yards, we came out at this clearing! We had the place to ourselves and had fun building rock towers.

We saw tons of buffalo grazing...

Here we are riding the boat back after hiking around Jenny Lake:

I could go on and on about the Grand Tetons. It was one of my favorite of the national parks I've visited. It probably helped that the weather was fabulous while we were there.

Sept. 11 Twin Falls Idaho
After camping for the last 5 nights, we were ready for more "fluffing and buffing" at a hotel. We drove about 4 hours from the Tetons to Twin Falls Idaho and back to civilization. After taking the time to get cleaned up at the hotel, we went out for dinner at a great restaurant over looking the Snake River and the falls. It sometimes felt like culture shock to go from camping in the National Parks to staying in a hotel and eating in fancy restaurants. If they only knew how grubby I had been just a few hours before!

Here's a picture of our view from the patio seating we had at the fancy restaurant in Twin Falls:

Sept. 12 and 13 Columbia River Gorge (Oregon/Washington):

The next few days were spent exploring the Columbia River Gorge. The Columbia River forms the boundary between Oregon and Washington State. We drove along the Oregon side and stayed at two different state parks along the way. The scenery is beautiful with mountains rising up on each side of the river with just a thin strip of land...barely wide enough for a road and some railroad tracks. We saw amazing barges along the river and people out enjoying the water.

My biggest memory of this part of the trip was the wind!! It would whip through the gorge. I don't know if it does it all the time, or if it just happened to be doing it while we were there. It was also chilly with rain off and on, so we decided to spend one less day here than planned and go on into Portland Oregon a day early.

This is the view from our campsite at Memaloose State Park.

There are several waterfalls in the area that are beautiful. Here I am at Horsetail Falls.

Here is Multnomah Falls...the most visited and most famous of the falls in this area.

Sept. 14 and 15: Portland Oregon, Nordic Motel
After spending several nights camping in the wind and chill, I was ready for more fluffing and buffing in Portland. This time we stayed in a little "mom and pop" hotel that was very clean and nice. It was near the airport, so it was in kind of an industrial area, but the price was good and I was happy to be there.

It was rainy while we were in Portland so my memory of the town is somewhat dampened by the weather. One of the things I really enjoyed was visiting the International Rose Test Garden. It is an AMAZING rose garden! Portland is a great place to grow roses. My husband and I decided to have a "picture taking contest" while we were there so we both have lots and lots of pictures of roses that are stunning.

Here is one of my favorites:

I was having a knee problem that started flairing up while we were in Portland. I bought a knee brace at Walgreens hoping that it would help. It did seem to help...mostly by preventing me from bending my knee more than 90 degrees. I wore the brace off and on for the rest of the trip. Fortunately, my knee actually improved while we were on the trip and it didn't cause any real problems.

Sept. 16: Mt. Rainer....the mountain that wasn't!
Our plan for the day was to drive to the base of Mt. Rainer and camp in Mt. Rainer National Park. It was cloudy that day so things looked "iffy" for seeing the moutain. We drove there anyway. A lot of the drive was along a winding two lane road along the side of a mountain. One of the things about me is that I have a fear of heights and driving along roads like the one to Mt. Rainer is NOT on my list of favorite things to do. After making the drive, we arrived at the base of the mountain only to see it completely encased in fog and clouds....bummer!

Imagine a huge volcano rising up behind the trees in this picture....that's where it was.

There wasn't much point in camping at Mt. Rainer since it was predicted to be cloudy for the next few days, so we drove back down the winding road and drove on to Tacoma and stayed in a hotel there. It was still chilly and raining off and on so camping didn't seem at all attractive at that point!

Tacoma has the Museum of Glass that showcases Chiculy glass. This photo was actually taken in the old train station in Tacoma. Each of the glass blooms was enormous and very pretty in the light.

Sept. 17 and 18: Seattle
We had an airbnb booked for the next two nights in Seattle. We were staying there at the suggestion of my husband's friend from high school that was now living in Seattle. I have to say that this airbnb was strange. It was very clean, and I think the owners went to a lot of effort to make it comfortable and interesting, but it was in a basement with very low ceilings and almost no windows. I felt like I was in a cave both nights. Ugh. It just wasn't my kind of place. To each his own. Oh well....it made for some interesting memories.

It continued to be rainy and chilly while we were in Seattle, but it wasn't much of an issue since we were indoors and not camping. Hubby's friend and her husband acted as our tour guides while we were in Seattle. They were great. I really appreciated them spending so much time showing us around. I had been to Seattle before, but my husband never had so we did the typical touristy things....the Space Needle and the Public Market. I think the Market is one of the "must see" things in Seattle. I particularly love the flower stalls there. The flowers are amazing and the prices are so low. If I lived close the there, I would have huge bouquets of fresh flowers in my home all the time. I didn't think to take a picture of the stalls....darn it!

Here we are outside of the market.

I'll close with this shot of the Space Needle.

Thank you for allowing me to share my vacation with you. It was a magical time for us. I'll do another blog in the next couple days about the next part of our trip.

Next up.....Alaska!

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